( Log Out /  God had the foreknowledge of Pharaoh's refusal to let Israel go, so God was already prepared to seek the death of the firstborn son. She concludes, “But within the enigma, the figure of Zipporah is decisive and clear. The Circumcision of son of Moses, Jan Baptist Weenix ca 1640. Possibly Moses suffered an illness or seizure. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Exodus passage also refers to the term, "bridegroom of blood," in many translations. The Septuagint renders the passage, Zipporah, having taken a sharp knife, circumcised her son, and fell down at his (Moses’s) feet, and said, The blood of the circumcision of my child is stopped, and she went away from him; that is, she and her children went home to Midian, when she found the child was out of danger, and able to travel. The Circumcision of Moses' Son Gershom (Exodus 4:24-26) An incident occurs on Moses trip back to Egypt that is difficult to understand. " Approach the text as if you are reading it for the first time. Israel ultimately bore the “only begotten Son” Jesus Christ. So Moses would have been circumcised by eight days old. 26 So the Lord let him alone. ... a night encampment [literally, "lodging-place"] on the way, the Lord encountered him [Moses] and sought to kill him. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. On the road, they stayed in an inn, where God came to kill Moses. Then she said to Moses, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 Zipporah said this because she had to circumcise … The immediate question is, "Why is Moses not performing the circumcision?" * [ 4:25 ] Touching his feet : a euphemism most probably for the male sexual organ (see 2 Kgs 18:27 ; Is 7:20 ); whether the genitals of the child (after Zipporah circumcised him) or of Moses (after the circumcision of his son) is not clear. Under the circumstances, Moses would have been incapacitated and they were already on the way to Egypt; God was satisfied by the ritual act (Exod 4:26). When the passage is read correctly in the King James Bible, the passage becomes easy to understand. Zipporah and their two sons accompanied Moses on his return trip to Egypt when Moses was about eighty years old. These scholars are thinking too hard. Moses finally tells the people of Israel of the tenth plague – killing all Change ). Moses fears for the safety of his son because the son had not yet entered into a covenant relationship with God. Zipporah had borne two sons to Moses, but he had failed to perform circumcision on his sons. Zipporah's complaint appears to pertain to something Moses failed to do. Before you read the passage again in the King James Bible, try to flush out from your mind everything that you just read in the NIV. This passage is rather uneventful and straightforward if we read it properly. She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!”. Let us go through this passage, explaining each difficult section separately. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 25 Then Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet {with it}. - Durham states, "Zipporah circumcised her son, because if she had circumcised Moses, he would have been incapacitated for his journey." 24 Along the way they stopped for the night. No house of gentiles there. ( Rom.2: 25-27) For  circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law:but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Zipporah saves Moses’ life by an emergency circumcision of one of her sons (Exodus 4:24, 26). 25 Then Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet {with it}. This phrase is not about God letting Moses go, but about Moses letting his son go after the circumcision was over. Ex.4:24-25. By the way there aren’t 3 houses. There were 2 sons. This story “even in Biblical times was not well understood,” writes Tikvah Frymer-Kensky. ( Log Out /  The term "bloody husband" is merely Zipporah's criticism of a husband who performs an apparently strange and bloody procedure. This much-debated passage is one of the more perplexing conundrums of the Torah . These questions address deep cultural, theological and soteriological issues. (Moses had delayed the brit milah due to the rigors of travel.) Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Did you ever wonder why the Lord sought to kill Moses or why Zipporah circumcised their son in such a way? The transfor-mation of Zipporah from a symbol of Midianite religion to a companion on their way ahead is the essence of the story told in these three short sentences. (I found this comment amusing) If you're curious as to what a flint rock looks like, here are two examples. Exodus 4:24-26 (GW) There have been many attempts to answer these questions, but they are all very speculative. This passage has perplexed many students of the word over the years. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. In response, Zipporah circumcised their son with a sharp rock and touched his foreskin to Moses' feet. Punishment for failing to be circumcis. The underlined words above are words that were supplied by the NIV translators. The custom was, if the husband dies the wife can circumcise the son. Many translations (even some KJV editions) begin a new section after verse 23 (often with a new section heading), obscuring the fact that "him" in verse 24 refers to Pharaoh's firstborn son mentioned in verse 23. So why was the first born son of Moses and Zipporah not circumcised? One must have been circumcised but why not the other? Moses and Zipporah are a picture of the two houses of Israel. his sons was being circumcised, whether Gershom or Eliezer. ( Ex.4:20. ) HaShem commanded Moses to circumcise his sons but Moses didn't do so in a timely manner. In verse 23 God had pronounced a judgment upon Pharaoh's son, but it may have been obvious to Moses that God's judgment affects not only the king of Egypt but all the Egyptians. In my Cruden’s concordance it is one who hasn’t received the faith. ( Log Out /  WHY MOSES DID NOT CIRCUMCISE HIS SON . So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched his legs with it, ... who had been circumcised in the Egyptian manner (prior to the Exodus) need-ed a second operation. These supplied names seem to make it easier for the reader to follow the narrative. Flint knife with bone handle It is clear, however, that a son of Moses was not circumcised. Along the way, God came without warning to kill Moses. It consequently only makes sense if Zipporah has circumcised her son, Gershom, and then symbolically transferred that circumcision to Moses by taking the foreskin and touching Moses’ genitals. She only circumcised under great pressure from the Lord. God instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel is God’s first-born son. Looks like Moses was at deaths door. Verses 22-26 are summarized as follows: In verses 22-23, God tells Moses that God would kill Pharaoh's firstborn son. Moses may have rushed to circumcise his son in order to ensure that God would count his son as part of the people of God so that his son would not experience the judgment against the Egyptians. Scripture says that she then takes their son's foreskin and touches Moses' feet with it. That is why when the circumcision was over, verse 26 says, "he let him go." 26 So the Lord let him alone. This "he" is Moses because the nearest male antecedent is "bloody husband." Did you ever look up the word gentile? But God did not. Thus in verse 25, Zipporah circumcises her son as Moses holds him still. One has to be grafted into one of these two. However, Moses took care of the lodging arrangements on the way before attending to his son's circumcision, and that is what angered God. Why did Moses not circumcise the infant? And shall not circumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? Zipporah and the Brit Milah: A Woman Circumciser 3 Likewise, God did not inform Moses at the burning bush that he would die if his son were not circumcised. This interpretation makes sense grammatically because the nearest antecedent is "firstborn" in verse 23. This was a valid concern. Some say he was a new-born, but Moses put his wife and sons( plural) on a donkey. Why did Zipporah circumcise her son rather than letting Moses do it? So would this explain the reaction of  Zipporah. She said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” Zipporah realized that he was being punished for not circumcising their newborn son. But the problem is that these supplied names are incorrect. Through the blood of her son she renewed her marriage vow to Moses and saved him from God’s wrath. Zipporah is a type of the church, a descendant of Abraham. Moses failed to have his first born son by his cousin wife circumcised according to the tradition of the Horite Hebrew fathers (Horim). Then Zipporah said, “Yes, my dear, you are safe because of this circumcision. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife and circumcised her son. The King James Version is Demonstrably Inerrant. Zipporah was apparently opposed to circumcision, thus Moses’ second son had not been circumcised before Moses began to lead his family back to the land of Egypt. and that this omission had caused Moses’ illness, stepped in. Zipporah at the inn is the name given to an episode alluded to in three verses of the Book of Exodus. In verse 24, God locks his target on the firstborn son. The answer is that Moses had to hold on to the son so that the son would stay still. She took the skin and touched his feet. Some scholars believe that the term "bridegroom of blood" (same as "bloody husband" in the KJV) signifies Zipporah's religious idea about blood sacrifice and covenant. Report Abuse|Print Page|Powered By Google Sites. Could it have been that Moses compromised his obedience  for Zipporahs sake in not carrying out the commandment to circumcise all the sons of Abraham. There is no scriptural basis for taking the life of a father who does not circumcise a son. As Moses comes under attack by God, Zipporah takes a flint knife and circumcises their son. 24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met [Moses] and was about to kill him. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. After the Exodus, Zipporah reunited with Moses in the wilderness (Exodus 18). The Circumcision of son of Moses, Jan Baptist Weenix ca 1640 Zipporah at the inn is the name given to an episode alluded to in three verses of the Book of Exodus . the LORD sought to kill “him”—either Moses or his son, but Zipporah circumcised her son and the LORD withdrew from “him.” Not only does Exodus 4 parallel Jacob’s journey home told in Genesis 32, it links Zipporah to other preserving, delivering women in the lives of the ancestors. Circumcision represents disobedience to the Torah(law). Unlike his Egyptian peers, he was circumcised. Zipporah quickly intervened, taking a flint knife to circumcise Gershom, in conformity with the prescribed sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. This interpretation is followed by some Jewish exegetes. God was able to write "Moses" or "LORD" if he wanted to. Once Moses’ son was circumcised God no longer sought to kill Moses. Now, in verse 24, the underlined "him," refers not to Moses but to Pharaoh's firstborn son. Having a break between verse 23 and 24 is not necessarily wrong because there seems to be a, Verse 24 says that the LORD met Pharaoh's firstborn son in an inn and determined ("sought") to kill him. In the Talmud (TB Nedarim 32a), R. Yose explains that Moses delayed circumcising his youngest son, because doing so would force him to postpone his mission to Egypt by three days while the baby recovered. The Lord met Moses and tried to kill him. It was because of the circumcision that she said at … When we read the passage in the King James Bible we get the correct understanding of the passage. Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS). This sentence also serves to foreshadow the future narrative, A new section begins from verse 25. There is no need to ask these difficult questions. Did Moses and Zipporah know the reason for the attack? The problem is not with the answers, but with the questions. Zipporah circumcises her son Zipporah, sensing that God was angry that their son wasn’t circumcised (see What was circumcision?) Immediately Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son’s genitalia, and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely, a bloody husband art thou to me.” Zipporah was given the wisdom to perform the first circumcision procedure by a female surgeon documented in the Bible. “Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt. In verse 23, God makes it clear that he will slay Pharaoh's firstborn son if Pharaoh refuses to let go of Israel. Moses came from the house of Levi and he was hid for three months. She took the physical embodiment of this rebellion and placed it under Moses’ heel. Moses becomes her "bridegroom," her newly-acquired husband, because they both were culturally new persons. 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